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Big-wave surfer Andrew Cotton on going large – again




40 steps to tackling rally’s toughest event


The Hollywood star on why he’s levelling up for

Assassin’s Creed



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WELCOME This month’s edition of The Red Bulletin takes the maxim of ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’ to the extremity of extension, starting with our cover star Michael Fassbender, who parlayed boyhood dreams of musical success into Hollywood stardom through a mixture of risk, rigour and gritty determination. The same combination infuses the mindset of rally ace Sébastien Loeb, who is once again risking his status as an all-time great to pursue victory in the gruelling Dakar Rally. And finally we have big-wave surfer Andrew Cotton, whose search for what could be the world’s biggest swell perfectly embodies the risk/reward equation. His bid was unsuccessful, but, he reveals, the quest alone was a revelatory experience. Enjoy. 08

“I’m freespirited, and it gets me into trouble” SIENNA MILLER, PAGE 25



Think you could take on the Dakar Rally? Rally Our guide to the notoriously tough – and dangerous – motorsport event will point you in the right direction






How a chance sighting off the Irish coast changed the life of big-wave surfer Andrew Cotton


INSPIRATIONS Unique talents

FEATURES 30 Michael Fassbender


GOOD SHOTS! Photos of the month


How a teenage rock-star wannabe became Hollywood hot property

36 Dakar Rally

Everything you ever wanted to know about the famous off-road event

48 Sébastien Loeb

The rally legend on victory, failure and the challenge of Dakar 2017


On Mexico’s glorious Riviera Maya, brave divers have the chance to swim with sharks – no cage required

The British surfer still pursuing the wave of his dreams


From Hunger to X-Men to Assassin’s Creed: Hollywood heavyweight Michael Fassbender talks risk, reality and reward


58 Heroes of the month

Climber David Lama, actor Mads Mikkelsen, games expert Scott Nicholson and former astronaut Mike Massimino

64 Vienna nightlife

After-hours in the Austrian capital



When is a supercar not a supercar? When it’s the Nissan GT-R, a cruiser that punches above its weight THE RED BULLETIN


After a disappointing drive at the 2016 Dakar Rally, motorsport giant Sébastien Loeb is back – and gunning for glory

SEE IT. GET IT. DO IT. The best travel,

gadgets, films, games, music, wheels, watches and events. Plus what’s on Red Bull TV this month, and how to jump from a plane without a parachute 91 COOL AS ICE The best kit for winter 98 FLASHBACK Wakeboarding gets wild





Jason Polakow, Andrew Cotton and a local at a spot-check in Nazaré, Portugal

On the trail of a restless monster Big-wave surfer Andrew Cotton’s 2016 pursuit of the ultimate wave off the west coast of Ireland, as documented in the short film Beneath The Surface, ultimately proved unsuccessful. But as the Plymouthborn athlete, who first took up surfing at the age of seven, gets stuck into a new winter season in Portugal, he’s already preparing to reignite his quest to hunt down the elusive Irish giant. And this time, Cotton is armed with a whole new way of predicting when it might appear. See our feature on page 52.

The Austrian photographer, known for his portraits of extrovert artists, shot the heroes of Vienna’s nightlife scene for The Red Bulletin. These include a singer who drinks beer from his boots on stage. Page 64.


Frenchman Duhamel has documented the career of nine-time rally world champion Sébastien Loeb since his golden years in the WRC. For us, he shot Loeb in the lead-up to his next adventure: Dakar 2017. Page 48.

THE RED BULLETIN AROUND THE WORLD The Red Bulletin is available in eight countries. This cover, featuring rapper Manillio, is from the Swiss edition Read more:


“The Dakar Rally is also a huge adventure for journalists” WERNER JESSNER, WRITER

Werner Jessner (centre) after the final stage of Dakar 2012


When the 39th Dakar Rally begins on January 2 in Asunción, Paraguay, many dangers will await the drivers, including anoxia, limited sleep, and some merciless desert stages. The Red Bulletin’s Werner Jessner, who drove the rally in 2012, answers all the important questions on page 36.




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The Red Bull Skydive Team took playing on the swings to a new level in the skies over Austria. Armed with a seat attached to a 125m-long rope – the ‘Mega Swing’ – Marco Fürst and his three teammates ascended in two hot air balloons for a four-second freefall, followed by half a pendulum swing and a leap from 1,800m. “It’s everyone’s dream,” said Georg Lettner, one of the skydivers. “To swing higher and higher, and finally jump off and fly.” To see the video, go to:


ROCK SOLID American photographer Ian Witlen is a dab hand at high-octane concert pictures. He’s been documenting the mosh-pit free-for-all and the stage excesses at live gigs for over 10 years. But the gig of the hard-rocking sibling duo JEFF the Brotherhood – that’s Jake Orrall, on the right, and his brother, Jamin – at the Bonnaroo Festival in Tennessee was a highlight for Witlen. “They performed on the tiniest stage but produced the wildest gig.” See more at:





Pacôme Schmitt (second from left) eyed a top-10 finish at Red Bull Crashed Ice in Edmonton last time around, but the Frenchman’s attempts to chase down Canada’s Dylan Moriarity (right) were in vain. When the 2017 ice-cross world championship kicks off in Marseille on January 13 – its first-ever stop in France – Schmitt will hope to make the most of the home advantage. For details of the 2017 season, go to:



AZORES, PORTUGAL PHOTOGRAPHY: ALEXANDRE VOYER Freedivers Marianne Aventurier and Alexandre Voyer were exploring the waters off the coast of Faial Island in the Azores when Aventurier attracted the curiosity of two blue sharks. “The water was dark and clear, and there was perhaps 2,000m below our fins,” says Voyer. “It was an incredible moment.” The Frenchman’s photograph of his girlfriend’s encounter with one of the beasts won him a finalist’s place in the Close Up category of Red Bull Illume 2016.






CHRIS PRATT THE ACTOR WHO CRACKED HOLLYWOOD WITH THE HELP OF A SECRET WEAPON: SINCERITY Life was sweet for Chris Pratt at 19, working in a Maui restaurant, sleeping on the beach… Then a customer offered him a role in a low-budget film; by saying ‘have a nice day’ and meaning it, Pratt had opened a door. “It’s how I was raised,” he said later. “[It’s about] understanding your attitude is contagious and asking yourself if it’s worth catching.” Moving to LA, he did the hard yards – a decade of auditions, small TV and film parts – before becoming Andy in sitcom Parks and Recreation. In 2014, he broke onto the Hollywood A-list with Guardians Of The Galaxy, then Jurassic World, The Magnificent Seven and now Passengers. At 37, Pratt might be the biggest international movie star today. He’s certainly proof that good guys can win.





On August 3, James Alan Hetfield is born in Downey, California, to Christian Scientist parents. When he’s 16, his mother dies of cancer, choosing prayer over medicine. It shapes him: “I know what my higher power is all about,” he later said of writing the Metallica song The God Has Failed.

Released on November 18, Hardwired… To SelfDestruct is Metallica’s 10th studio album, arriving eight years after the previous, Death Magnetic. Hetfield and Ulrich are sole songwriters; Hammett lost an iPhone with hundreds of riff ideas for the record, but he hadn’t backed them up. Of the 35-year-journey, Hetfield says, “We just want to write music that we like listening to… and we’ve got a lot of people that feel the same way as we do, for some reason.”

1981 ‘Drummer looking for other metal musicians to jam with Tygers of Pan Tang, Diamond Head and Iron Maiden’. That’s the listing Hetfield sees in LA paper The Recycler. Having learned piano, drums and guitar as a child, he is well placed to reply to the drummer, Lars Ulrich, and the first seeds of Metallica are sown.

Metallica’s demo tapes and small gigs get them noticed, but no record company funds an album. Their promoter borrows cash, sets up a label and in May they enter the studio. Still problems, though: guitarist Dave Mustaine’s drug habit sees him ditched for Kirk Hammett and there is the album’s title. Eventually, Metal Up Your Ass is changed to Kill ‘Em All.


“CAN I GET A HELL YEAH?” That’s Hetfield opening his and Metallica’s acceptance speech as they enter the Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame. (He gets what he asks for.) Newsted returns to play for one night only at the inauguration, alongside new bassist Robert Trujillo. Hetfield goes on to thank his wife “for saving my life many times” and his higher power for “the gift of music… Music is my therapy and I need to do it.”




With Hetfield on rhythm, Ulrich on drums, Hammett on lead and Cliff Burton on bass, Metallica grow both their profile and the thrash metal genre, especially with third album Master Of Puppets. But their tour bus crashes in Sweden, and Burton is killed in the accident. “I saw the bus lying right on him,” Hetfield said later. “I already wanted to kill [the driver].” An inquest absolves any blame.

More terrible luck, for Hetfield in particular. He suffers third-degree burns when a stage pyrotechnic shoots flames onto his arms and face during a show in Montreal in August. “I look down and watch the skin rising [on my arm],” he recalled. Metallica are touring to promote their fifth LP, Metallica, also known as the Black Album, which goes on to become the bestselling album in the US from 1991-2014.

2004 Wait – this shows how Metallica can do wrong. The documentary Some Kind Of Monster focuses on the band in 2001-03, when Burton’s replacement Jason Newsted left and Hetfield spent seven months in rehab for alcohol abuse. Hetfield and Ulrich’s power struggle is also laid bare.

1999 Hetfield is now married and a father; his band is one of the world’s most successful and beloved. So, naturally, Metallica record a live album and concert movie with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. S&M has some critics, but more than eight million records and films sold shows Metallica can do no wrong.








In her early 20s Miller was making a big impact in big movies, but then suddenly her private life became the bigger story. In 2006, she starred in Factory Girl, the story of the rise and fall of an actresssocialite, and it was only a couple of years later that the crueller critics were saying how that film’s plotline might be applied to its falling star. She kicked ass in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, but a Scarlett Johanssonlike action career did not kick off. Undeterred, she has bounced back, stealing scenes in Foxcatcher, American Sniper and High-Rise, and now she’s a major part of Ben Affleck’s upcoming crime epic Live By Night. Now 34, the woman whose notoriety was often measured in malicious gossip column inches is now most famous for her acting chops. It’s quite a turnaround.






Day of rest after a race weekend. It’s the day where Sainz tries to do nothing. “No email, no meetings, nothing. I also allow myself a meal of whatever I want – a burger or whatever. But the point is to take a day to recover properly.”


Minutes of warm-up before a track session or race. F1 may appear sedentary, but bursts of heavy G-forces and intense buffeting push the body to its limit. “I do boxing and also juggling to help with hand-eye co-ordination, which is really important,” says Sainz. "After that I’m sweating and ready to go.”


Full hour of boxing in a training session. “Reflexes are what we need the most as racing drivers. I work on mine in a boxing session with my trainer. Boxing works very similar muscles to the ones we use in F1. We combine it with different exercises, maybe a bit of crossfit at the same time. It’s the thing I have the most pain with the following day! It’s very intense.”


Discipline: Formula One Driver. Age: 22. Height: 1.78m. Weight: Approx. 66kg. Roll of Honours: Former Red Bull Junior team driver and 2014 Formula Renault 3.5 champion. Made F1 debut with Scuderia Toro Rosso in 2015, has just completed his second full season in F1. Best finish as we went to press – sixth place at the 2016 Spanish, US and Brazilian grands prix.


2000 20

With a 21-race global season to contend with, as well as a packed schedule of sponsor and personal appearances, maintaining a regular fitness regime can be tricky. “You might spend around 200 days away from home, so [any regime] has to remain flexible,” says Sainz. “My first priority wherever I am is a session of cardio, because it deals with jet lag and helps you adapt to a different climate. I usually run, cycle or swim, and the session can be between half an hour and three hours.”


Seconds – the possible reduction in lap time this season. F1 cars are expected to be quicker and heavier in 2017. That means more stress on the drivers. “We'll need to step up our physical condition,” says Sainz. “Fitness will make all the difference.”


Minutes of quiet mental preparation before taking to the track. “After the warm-up your body might be ready to race, but your mind isn’t,” says Sainz. “You need to focus and calm yourself. I do visualisation techniques before qualifying, working through each corner, but I don’t do that before the race. In the races I prefer to improvise.”



Of the two Freeletics apps, the one we like best is for bodyweight exercise. It’s highly customisable and the food suggestions are delicious.


Sleep right and you boost your physical and mental abilities. The new iteration of Beddit monitors movement and heart rate via a mattress sensor, not wristband: one less thing to think about when turning in.


Too much is bad for us, and some can be good for muscle building. But a good steak now and then (trim the fat and grill it) can also be good for brain development, says a study in the European Journal of Epidemiology.












“I’m really understanding the virtues of meditation now more than ever in my life – just learning to not attach, to just let thoughts go by”

“Two years ago I was always practising, doing my stuff, and I was making things too complicated. Now I try to relax a little bit more… The feeling is different from the things you do every day with the same rhythm” ANGELIQUE KERBER, CURRENT WORLD NUMBER ONE IN WOMEN’S TENNIS


“I used to get stressed out all the time when I thought winning was important. I wanted to try to win and help my kids win. Once I figured out it wasn’t about winning or losing, it was about teaching these kids about being men, that’s when I started to relax”

“I’ve learned over the years that if you start thinking about the race, it stresses you out a little bit. I just try to relax and think about video games, what I’m gonna do after the race, what I’m gonna do just to chill. Stuff like that to relax a little before the race”

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“I have three kids, a cat and a busy, noisy house. I get more time to relax when I’m working” NOEL GALLAGHER, MUSICIAN

“For me, solitude is a victory. You can’t live 24 hours in the spotlight and still remain creative” KARL LAGERFELD, FASHION DESIGNER

MARIE FRANCE ROY mariefranceroy Roy, aka ‘Mofo’, is one of the best freestyle snowboarders and also spends a lot of time on a surfboard. The FrenchCanadian lives for fresh air and fast times – from competing at international contests to her off-the-grid lifestyle in Vancouver – and the pics she posts are inspiring.

“I’ve never lost sight of the fact that to be successful, I need to invest in myself during and beyond my workouts every day” GWEN JORGENSEN, OLYMPIC GOLD MEDAL-WINNING TRIATHLETE




WAREABLE wareable The very latest info on the tech you strap on, hook over your ears, look into, carry in your pocket; the tech that monitors you, betters you, helps you, guides you; the tech that makes you sleep better, work harder, communicate smarter, and do more on-the-go with cat GIFs.

don’t stress, do ski

“ YO U


M i c h a e l Fa s s b e n d e r r e f l e c t s on how perseverance, passion and just a little bit of the luck of the Irish helped in putting him on the path to Hollywood success P h o t o g r a p h y: J o h n R u s s o Wo r d s : R ü d i g e r S t u r m




TO START AT THE END. As his interview with The Red Bulletin comes to a close, Michael Fassbender leans back in his chair at London’s Claridges Hotel and groans, “I’m starving!” He’s also shivering in an air-conditioning stream set to sub-arctic blast mode. For many Hollywood stars, these deprivations would have been the beginning of the conversation, with assistants peremptorily dispatched to source a club sandwich or to have the hotel’s climate control globally reset. Fassbender, though, is not that kind of star. Instead, he’s content to knuckle down and get the job done, fully engaged to the end. As an analogue, its perhaps an odd one, but in a small way it’s emblematic of the resilience and perseverance the 39-year-old has shown on his journey from smalltown Ireland to marquee billing in some of Hollywood’s most successful endeavours, from the X-Men franchise to the return of the iconic Alien series. Now he’s about to embark on another major project, translating the Assassin’s Creed video game from digital phenomenon to live-action blockbuster. 32

“ I ’ M AWA R E T H AT I ’ M G E T T I N G C L O S E R T O D E AT H , B U T W H E N the red bulletin: The character you play in Assassin’s Creed has a neardeath experience. Do you know what that feels like? michael fassbender: Well, I had this weird dream where I was cycling up a mountain in the Irish countryside where I grew up, and then I flew off the edge of a cliff to certain death. That felt so familiar, like it had already happened to me.

But you haven’t faced actual life or death situations? There were a couple of close calls. Once when I was riding my motorbike, I was sandwiched between two cars that were driving between 210 and 225kph. I could feel the rush of wind as one went by me. That was quite dangerous. Another time I was swimming in the ocean, the waves were pretty rough and I thought I was going to drown. Or when I was up in the mountains and the weather would change. THE RED BULLETIN

YO U S TA R T T O T H I N K A B O U T I T, YO U B E G I N T H E P R O C E S S O F DY I N G ” How did you react to those situations: wild panic or stiff upper lip stoicism? This is it! A large part of me thinks when your card is drawn, it is drawn. There is nothing you can do about it. I am aware that I’m getting closer to middle age – hopefully it is middle age – and therefore death, but when you start to really think about it, you begin the process of dying. THE RED BULLETIN

You’re comfortable with risk, then? Of course. In the film there is a scene where my character takes a so-called ‘leap of faith’ and jumps down 38m. And I have done that [metaphorically] in many respects. Going into certain relationships or jumping from a cliff into water is a leap of faith. Or in work when we are going for something that seems daunting.

And if the risk doesn’t result in reward? How do you get back on the horse? I tell myself: ‘Life goes on – with or without you.’ You get re-engaged; you get back into life. I experienced many, many years of disappointment. Going to auditions, getting rejected, getting rejected, getting rejected. Either you become a victim or you take responsibility and get engaged. Life is not fair all the time. It’s not fair a lot of the time. I learned that lesson very young. 33

“ W H E R E I ’ M AT T O D AY W O U L D N ’ T H AV E H A P P E N E D W I T H O U T P E O P L E H E L P I N G M E A L O N G T H E WAY ”

Michael Fassbender is half-German and half-Irish, and grew up in Killarney, where his parents ran a restaurant

A STA R I S B O R N Th ese th re e f i l m s b l a ste d M i c h a e l Fa ss b e n d e r i nto th e H o l l y wo o d st ratos p h e re When was the first time that reality became apparent to you? In my teens. Certain kids get certain things and you can’t get those things. So you go to work early. I started working jobs when I was 12, 13 – in the summer, on the weekends. When I was washing pots in the kitchen of a five-star hotel at 15 or 16, I met a lot of adults who were working there. That’s an intense environment; you get to become part of that world. You embrace it and learn from it. You start to understand what life can throw your way and the various hardships it presents. And then I moved to London at 19. I didn’t have a lot of money, hardly anything. To survive in such an expensive city without any means is very hard. Was that early awareness of the hard knock life a key to your success? Yeah, in a way, maybe. But you also have to keep faith. Or rather I’d say passion. That’s how I fell into acting. When I was 18, I directed a stage version of Reservoir Dogs with my friends – it was all out of love and naivety and passion.


When did that passion translate into pursuit of acting as a career? How did you know you had what it takes? My original plan was to play guitar in a heavy metal band. I practised two hours a day, every day when I came home from school. And then my friend came around with his guitar one day and he blew me out of the room. I was like: ‘He’s got what it takes, I don’t.’ But around that same time I did some acting classes. Most of the things I was participating in at school, including sports, I was average at. But with this, I had an affinity with it. I felt I could express myself. Did you feel it was something preordained? I do believe that our lives are kind of set from the womb. But I don’t live my life thinking that. I don’t sit back, thinking everything is taken care of. I do engage very much in what I am doing. And I work very hard in terms of my profession. I am not saying it is hard work, but I put the hours in!


HUNGER (2008) Fassbender lost 21kg to play Bobby Sands, the IRA prisoner who led a hunger strike in 1981. It gave him his first acting award as well as critical acclaim for his portrayal.

SHAME (2011) Although he starred in Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds and X-Men: First Class, he gained more column inches as a sex addict in this film by Hunger director Steve McQueen.

STEVE JOBS (2015) He was scandalously overlooked at the Oscars for Shame, but was nominated for the Best Actor Oscar for his role as the founder of Apple. He even sacrificed his holiday to make the movie.

You had to put in the hard yards as well. Your breakthrough role, in Hunger, came when you were 31. It’s about being in the right place at the right time. Ninety-five per cent is luck – meeting the right people. As actors we are very dependant on others to help us get to where we are. Where I’m at today wouldn’t have happened without a series of people who helped me along the way. You have to be awake to these encounters, too. With Hunger I was very aware that I was getting an opportunity that might not come about again for maybe another seven years, 10 years, if at all. So I grabbed it by the scruff of the neck and went for it. I focused and worked hard.

Now that the hard work has paid off, how do you keep your eye on the prize? I just stick to the principles my parents gave me: if you are going to do a job, do it properly. Treat others as you would have yourself treated. Treat people with respect. Be honest. Keep things pretty simple, and don’t take yourself too seriously. That’s why I always like to go back to Killarney and reconnect with my roots. Also, some of my childhood friends still live there. The last time I was there was only four days ago. You’re also a keen motorcyclist. Is that another way of keeping things simple, of stripping things back? Unfortunately, I haven’t done any motorcycling for a year. But there is something cathartic, something cleansing about travelling on the road as opposed to jumping on an aeroplane. It’s like you are washing away all stress. I enjoy the grind of doing mile after mile and seeing a country properly. When you’re in a car, you’re closed off to the outside space, whereas on a motorcycle, you’re part of it. All the elements are there, the road, the wind; it’s much more of an experience. It’s a really good way to centre yourself. Also, it gives you a sense of persistence. As well as being into bikes, you’re a big Formula One fan and narrated the F1 film 1: Life on the Limit. Are you a total speed freak? I like speed. I find it relaxing. That’s why I also like to go on the German autobahn, where there is no limit. What’s the fastest you have ever gone? In a car, 260kph, and around 225kph on my motorcycle. But I must say I was a bit wobbly in the knees after I got off the bike. I’m half-German, half-Irish. You can see my German side in my discipline in terms of work, and the Irish side of me wants to be a bit crazy. And what would you have said, if, God forbid, your card had been drawn on those rides? OK, this is it.



WORDS Werner Jessner



The Dakar Rally is perhaps the toughest, and most dangerous, motorsport event in the world. The 39th outing gets underway on January 2 in Asunción, Paraguay


Nº 01

WHAT DO I NEED TO LINE UP FOR THE START OF THE DAKAR? You need a motorsport licence. And to get the class needed for Dakar you need to prove your physical and mental abilities. Then you work your way up to the Dakar by taking part in smaller events, like the one in Morocco. Dakar rookies also need to submit a detailed application. Only then do the organisers decide whether you’re up to the task. There’s also one other thing that will help you not only start your first Dakar, but also finish it – humility… and maybe a 10 per cent cushion of ability.

How do I drive at speed and drink? For the daytime we recommend a hydration pack with a solution of water, mineral salts, electrolytes and dissolved energy gels. The drivers can just hang the pack on the backrest.

Nº 02

Nº 06

Why is a rally named after an African city held in South America?

Nº 03

Is this a total boys’ club?

The 2008 rally was called off because of terror threats in Africa and in 2009 it moved to South America, which was both safer and had greater public appeal. But as the Dakar name was synonymous with cross-country rallies, the organisers kept it. There’s not much chance of it moving back to Africa either. Interest in South America is phenomenal. Every participant is a star. Plus, the added value to the local economy is about $300 million a year.

Not at all. Germany’s Jutta Kleinschmidt won it in 2001, and that was up against an otherwise all male line-up. Spain’s Laia Sanz came ninth in the motorcycle class in 2015.

Does everyone start together? No. The bikes and quads start ahead of the cars with the trucks setting off last. It’s exciting when the quick cars come up against the slowest bikes and the former can no longer see and the latter can no longer be seen. The order within the groups is interesting, too, because the quickest participant from the day before gets things underway and has to set the pace. A lot of participants proceed tactically and deliberately fall off the pace some days.


Nº 04

Do I need a driving licence? Yes, because between the special stages you have to drive on public roads in regular traffic.

Nº 05

Nº 07

How can you lose your way when you have GPS and a roadbook? Because you follow the wrong competitors and it turns out they haven’t chosen the right route. Because you’re exhausted after a week of sleep deprivation, extreme altitude, huge physical exertion and, in all likelihood, diarrhoea. Because you forget to move the roadbook forward electronically. Because you dislodged the GPS mount on your vehicle the last time you crashed. Or possibly because – and this is the worst reason of all – you miss one of the GPS checkpoints, and that means you’re out of the race.


Nº 13

Do I need to be at full tilt all the time?

How many people live in the bivouac? With all the mechanics, organisational crew, media, medical staff, cooks’ etc, the total number of people in the bivouac, the Dakar’s travelling base, comes to about 3,000. The size of a small town.

Why is the Dakar such a gruelling event? Because you don’t get enough sleep, you’re driving for extended periods across treacherous terrain; you’re going too fast, while on the road sections you’re debilitatingly slow. Because the other competitors are the best the world has to offer. Because all those little injuries add up and every tiny mistake is potentially lethal. Because it’s boiling hot and freezing cold and you’re not used to being 4,000m above sea level. All of that really.

Nº 09


If you know a shortcut, take it. But whatever you do, don’t miss a GPS checkpoint.

What happened to Margaret Thatcher’s son? In 1982, Mark Thatcher managed to get so lost during in the Dakar in his Peugeot 504 that even the Algerian Army needed six days to track him down, some 50km off course. The search for Thatcher generated international headlines and much harsh criticism for the somewhat unpopular offspring of a divisive British Prime Minister. “I did absolutely no preparation. Nothing,” the self-styled gentleman driver confessed afterwards. Top man.

Nº 12

Nº 10

How do you go to the loo when you’re racing? It depends on how desperate you are. Remember that you’re a competitive driver, not an overalls model. The good news is that you sweat a lot of liquid out anyway.


Who has made the most starts? Japan’s Yoshimasa Sugawara has taken part in the race 33 times consecutively: first on a bike at the age of 41 in 1983; then seven times in a car; and he’s been racing in the truck category since 1992. His mechanics always know to observe etiquette. Whenever Sugawara San, now 75, rolls into the bivouac, they bow, as tradition demands.

Nº 14

Which licence plate has been on the podium the most times? BR, which stands for Braunau in Austria. It’s where the factory KTM bikes are registered, and they’ve won 15 times in a row.

Nº 15

Nº 16

What do I wear? Good question. You’ll have to cope with temperatures from freezing to +40˚C. Jackets with a good inner lining and body-warmers provide excellent protection against cold. You’re going to sweat whatever.


Nº 08

No, you can take your time on the sections between the special stages. But you should be at the bivouac in time for the evening driver briefing – usually held at 9 or 10pm – at the latest.

Nº 17

WHY DO I HAVE TO GET UP AT 4AM ? Because you won’t cover nigh-on 8,500km in just two weeks otherwise.

Nº 18



Hopefully you won’t have lost consciousness and you can make the emergency call yourself, which sets the rescue procedure in motion and automatically takes you out of the race. If you’re lying in a ditch somewhere, unconscious and immobile, you have to hope that one of your fellow competitors stumbles across you. The good news is that sportsmen and women come together in extreme situations, and the race will come to a brief halt.

Nº 19

Who’s likely to win this time out? The current title-holders are Stéphane Peterhansel (above, car), Toby Price (bike) and Gerard de Rooy (truck). But watch out for Sébastien Loeb, Nasser Al-Attiyah and Carlos Sainz in the cars, Sam Sunderland and Matthias Walkner on the bikes and the spectacular Kamaz trucks.

Where do I sleep? BIVOUAC RULE 1: Rocky ground for your pop-up tent is better than a bed an hour’s drive away. RULE 2: Avoid hotspots like toilets, showers and food distribution centres. RULE 3: Avoid big teams as they attract a lot of attention. RULE 4: Avoid gentlemen drivers/riders as they often spend the night fettling their hard-pressed charges. RULE 5: Avoid generators. RULE 6: Avoid jolly people. RULE 7: Basically, avoid everyone.

Nº 20

What’s the food like? There’s pasta, rice, vegetables, meat and fish, plus dessert and salad. There’s also a packed lunch with tinned foods, plus water and soft drinks.

Nº 21


Badly. 43

Are there speeding tickets?

What do I get if I win the Dakar?

You better believe it! There are severe penalties for speeding infringements on the road sections between the racing stages. Every kilometre over the speed limit counts and is calculated by GPS. How severe are the penalties? Take your regular speeding fine and add a 0 on the end.

Nº 31

Honour and glory, and a nice trophy, because with just €58,000 prize money on offer for top spot, you’re not likely to be in this for the cash. If you win in your category, you get €5,000. But if you exploit your victory well, you’ll never go hungry.

Nº 23

Nº 26

Who will repair my car if it breaks down? Your co-driver. Provided, that is, you’ve teamed up with him/her based on mechanical engineering abilities as well as navigational skills. Alternatively, repair it with your own fair hands. For the bikers, option B is all you’ve got.

Where do I wash? In a mobile shower with cold water, if need be. Don’t forget to bring your flip-flops.

Nº 27

How much bad luck might I face? Two-time motocross World Champ Heinz Kinigadner has started the Dakar seven times, but has yet to finish; he even had to retire when in contention for the win. The Red Bulletin: What were the reasons for your retirements? Heinz Kinigadner: I retired because of technical failure three times and crashed four times. What caused the crashes? On every occasion it was because I’d lost time due to problems and then I tried to sledgehammer my way back up the field. But try to do that on the Dakar and you end up in a helicopter – the rescue helicopter. Do you think of yourself as jinxed? Not at all. I’ve had so many experiences. At my very first Dakar, a dockworker discharging a shipment was decapitated by a steel cable in front of the drivers’ eyes. When things like that happen, it immediately puts sport into perspective. So being part of the Dakar seven times is definitely a case of good luck, not bad.

Can your co-driver take the wheel? Nº 25 44


Nº 24

Yes. But he’ll need a race licence.

No one.

How did the Dakar begin? Frenchman Thierry Sabine first beckoned people to the starting line on December 26, 1978 and 170 competitors heeded his call. Right from the outset, the rally, which originally went from Paris to the Senegalese capital, Dakar, was intended as the toughest test possible for man and machine. Sabine’s motto was: “If life gets boring, risk it!” Sabine died in a helicopter crash in 1986… during the rally, of course.

Nº 30

Nº 32

Where do I fill up? In addition to local infrastructure, the organisers arrange fuel stops, which normally mean a barrel with a pump or tankers by the side of the road. On the road sections you just go to regular petrol stations.

What do the doctors treat? Altitude sickness, diarrhoea, grazes, bruises. Real hard nuts – such as Chris Birch in 2012 – even make it through to the end of the race with broken bones, in his case it was a broken ankle.

Nº 33

Nº 34

Do the trucks race too? Nº 29

Why are there so many buttons and switches in the cockpit? Because (almost) all the functions have a back-up in case they fail – just like on an aeroplane. A glance inside the Peugeot 3008 DKR reveals two GPS devices, two TripMasters and a stopwatch. The fuses in the centre are exposed so you can quickly get to the bottom of any technical trouble. The most vital source of information for the driver is the central gear indicator. And, yes, there is air-con. It keeps the temperature below 60 degrees.

Not all of them. Some trucks – the Kamaz and Ivecos, for example – are in it to win. Many others, however, are there to play a supporting role, carrying spares and other equipment in case the cars and bikes that started ahead of them have technical problems. Even though these trucks reach speeds of 160kph and have competition numbers – which they need in order to be allowed to enter the special stages – the actual race result for them is of no importance, because they have other duties to fulfil. THE RED BULLETIN

Nº 35



Bear in mind that you’ll have to take down your tent at 4am, leave the bivouac at five, following a quick breakfast, then do 300km in regular traffic, then another 300 with your foot to the floor, and then 200 more in regular traffic again to get to the next bivouac. Your Dakar job is more five-to-nine than it is nine-to-five.

Nº 36

WHAT DOES A WINNING CAR LOOK LIKE? Like the Peugeot 3008 DKR, a marked improvement on the winning 2008 DKR from last year. The regulations favour rear-wheel drive, so Peugeot have dispensed with all-wheel drive. Air to the twin-turbo diesel engine is restricted, but it still generates 340hp and can reach speeds of 200kph. At 46cm, the 3008 DKR’s springs are so big that in theory it could drive over an armchair and the drivers wouldn’t feel it. It takes seconds to get the spare wheels out in case of a breakdown, and the car is lighter and betterbalanced than in 2016. It all looks good for a successful title defence.

Nº 37

What do I do if I hit an animal? Put it on the barbeque. South American steaks are the stuff of legend.

How much money will I need? How much have you got? The poorest competitors go it alone in the motorbike category. But then you have to do everything yourself. So you’re looking at:

Nº 38

¤24,000 A KTM Adventure bike with a ‘ready-to-race’ Dakar package ¤14,800 Starter’s fee


If you’re a world-class athlete, no earlier than your third outing. See how it works, get good at it, win. Otherwise, never.

¤10,000 Spare parts ¤3,000 Rider’s equipment ¤2,000 Flights ¤1,000 Licence and attestation ¤1,000 Visa, small gifts, internet access, etc


Alternatively, sign up with a KTM satellite team for €90,000. That gets you your own mechanic, too. Accompanying staff generally cost extra. The fees are staggered according to when you register, starting at €9,000 per assistant. And as they’re coming along for the ride, you have to register every support car, too. A car will set you back €2,500, and a motorhome costs €6,000.

ONE MORE LITTLE TIP: A can of Red Bull is now an internationally accepted currency at the Dakar, in the same way that packets of pencils, biros, baseball caps and sweets used to be.

How can I keep track of the rally? Red Bull TV and will bring you spectacular footage.

Nº 40

SÉBASTIEN LOEB – OFF ROADS ON DEMAND Five months on Loeb’s heels. What gives the nine-time World Rally Champion the motivation to tackle the Dakar adventure once again? PAYING THE PRICE PREMIERE: DECEMBER 20 Toby Price dominated the 2016 Dakar and won it convincingly. The secret of the Australian rider’s success? Blood, sweat and tears. THE KAMAZ STORY PREMIERE: DECEMBER 20 Russian team Kamaz have put together a whole new race truck for 2017. A documentary crew followed its progress. MATTHIAS WALKNER PREMIERE: DECEMBER 27 Austrian motorcyclist Walkner was severely injured in a crash at the 2016 Dakar, but didn’t give up. Red Bull TV shows his way back. THE DAKAR RALLY LIVE FROM JANUARY 2-14


JUST LIKE STARTING OVER Nine-time world rally champion Sébastien Loeb is going back to basics in pursuit of the ultimate rallying victory – the Dakar. Is this the race that breaks a legend?


Words: PH Camy



SĂŠbastien Loeb at the start of his second Dakar Rally in his Peugeot 3008 DKR, equipped with the experience from his first outing last year

the red bulletin: Tell us honestly, are we talking to a nine-time World Rally Champion or a rookie? sébastien loeb : You’re talking to a racing driver. When I get up in the morning, I don’t say to myself, ‘I’m a nine-time world champion.’ Of course it’s something I’m proud of, but I don’t think about it that often. You could have retired as the king of rallying back in 2013 when you weren’t yet 40. But rather than do that, you decided to devote yourself to a new event instead and gamble your halo in the process. How much of an inner struggle was it to make that decision? A lot less of one than you might think. I’ve never raced because I wanted to be someone in particular. I’ve raced because racing is my passion. Maintaining an image isn’t something to aim for. My aim is to live my life the way I see fit. The joy of driving, the ambition, the competitive spirit… Those are the things that spur me on. What does it feel like to transform from legend into relative beginner? I feel the same as I did before. Because I’m not the type of person who spends his time keeping track of his feelings. I’m the type to work to improve my performance and results instead. In 2014 and 2015, you took part in the World Touring Car Championship. You went straight into the lead and won races, but in the overall standings you ended up behind your young rival, José María López. What was it like dealing with failure? Of course there are times when not winning is frustrating, but you’ve got to accept the results as they 50

Although he didn’t win the rally, Sébastien Loeb took victory on four stages in his first Dakar in 2016 THE RED BULLETIN

From the road to the track: Loeb’s 2017 Dakar Rally Peugeot 3008 DKR looks like a regular SUV


“The Dakar Rally requires a complete rethink of the way you operate” come. At the end of the day, López was better than me. It’s annoying, but that’s life! (He laughs.) But, most importantly of all, it didn’t stop me enjoying the races. What does a nine-time world champion learn from defeat? Or does he only now learn things from defeat? First, I had a realisation: the nature of rallying fits in perfectly with my own nature – the driving itself, the exploration, the improvisation, having to interpret the landscape. Other things were more important on WTCC circuits – analysis, observation, learning every turn, genning up, repeating it over and over again... That was hard and often not much fun. So you took up rallycross in 2016... If the job description is anything to go by, then

it should have suited you right down to the ground, shouldn’t it? Indeed. It was a return to natural motor racing for me. It’s just more relaxed. You never know what to expect in advance. That’s wonderful, don’t you think? Plus you had your rivals on the course with you. When you’re the quickest in a rally, you’re the quickest and that’s all there is to it. But in rallycross it depends on how the others perform, too. And that’s really exciting. You’re in a massively powerful car and there’s serious jostling for position and you’ve got to come through the field. A spectacle with that format is ideal for TV. Was the first Dakar Rally you drove in January 2016 the ultimate challenge for Sébastien Loeb?

I lined up at the start as a rookie, as did my co-driver [Daniel Elena] who I won all nine of my WRC titles with. We didn’t have that special experience you need on rallies like the Dakar to find the right course or find our rhythm. We both had to start from scratch. Doesn’t your record tally of rally wins help at least a bit? You start from scratch, or near enough. There’s no script or anything to tell you that what you’re doing is right in the Dakar Rally. You go headlong into this adventure armed only with the roadbook and you end up in these places you know nothing about. One of the things Daniel’s roadbook said was that we had to go through 10km of rainforest and at some point we’d hit a road. So we drove those 10km and came to the last 500m, 400m, 300m, and then zero, but there was no road to be seen for love nor money. So what were we meant to do? So Sébastien Loeb had to learn the right way to lose his bearings? The problem isn’t so much the getting lost. Even the best people get lost. The important thing is to find the way to get back on track quickly. At times like those, it’s not about driving a car as fast as you can. Thinking, driving and communicating with your co-driver all at the same time is a really fascinating challenge. Daniel and I might have built up a lot of experience together, but the Dakar Rally requires a complete rethink of the way you operate. After so many years of faultless rallying with Daniel at your side, how frustrating was it when he made a mistake during the Dakar? Could you accept that sort of thing? Yes, even though it was frustrating. Two days before the end of the Silk Way Rally [a rally raid of 10,700km between Russia and China held in July 2016], Daniel made me miss two way points and we were penalised by four hours. That was the end as far as we were concerned. That was all part of the experience and the learning process, both for me and for Daniel. Is the reverse also true, that Daniel’s success depends on you not making mistakes? Of course. It was my mistake when we rolled the car at the Dakar last year. But there’s no point asking whose fault it was. We all have to learn from our own mistakes! So, on balance, is it really worth the hassle of starting anew in unfamiliar territory? I’m living out my passion. That’s the crux of the matter. Driving and racing itself are what I love most and what I’m best at. So is it worth it? You bet it is! People think that an exceptional driver must by definition be a good driver. Is that the case? There are different categories of driving and with that we have different ways of being good. Rallycross and the Dakar Rally are two events that suit me, even though they’re at opposite ends of the motorsport spectrum: a two-minute sprint and a six-hour-long haul. With the depth of experience that you now have, would you be an even better driver if you went back to rallying? I’ve learned more about efficiency and my driving style. But the fact that I haven’t driven in any rallies for years would no doubt cancel out whatever advantage I’ve gained from my other achievements. Whether that would make me better or worse, I don’t know.





In 2015, British big-wave surfer Andrew Cotton sacrificed his season to conquer


Big dreams: Andrew Cotton’s mission is documented in the film Beneath the Surface: Chasing a Secret Slab

an elusive Atlantic wave. That time it eluded him, but he hasn’t given up the quest WORDS: JUSTIN HYNES 53

ndrew Cotton is on a crackly mobile phone line from Nazaré, Portugal, where he’s settling into a month’s training ahead of the winter big-wave surfing season. “It’s been amazing. I want to give myself the best start possible to do well,” he says. The ocean off the coast of Nazaré has played a pivotal role in Cotton’s career. After all, it was here in 2014 that he became a major big-wave star. Then, as storm Brigid surged across the Atlantic, churning through the 200km-long, up to 5km-deep underwater canyon that ends at the seaside town, images of the tiny figure of Cotton barrelling down the face of a monster 60ft wave were beamed around the world. That moment, and its aftermath, set in motion a dream the British surfer is still chasing, searching for an elusive monster with the potential to be the biggest wave ever surfed. Once the media spray over his Nazaré moment had cleared, Cotton shifted his focus to the next target. “I wanted to be more than a wave in 2014,” Cotton recalls. “It’s quite a personal thing, but you can’t live off one wave forever.” His imagination was drawn to an isolated point off the west coast of Ireland, to the memory of a wave crest glimpsed far out to sea, and to the possibility of a breaker that might go beyond anything experienced before. “You can see this wave on the horizon, just capping from a few points around the coast,” he says. “We first spotted it back in 2013. It’s one of those places that has


always intrigued me. I’d always wanted to go out and investigate it.” In the wake of his Nazaré experience, Cotton decided that finding and taming this elusive giant, in a place no one up until then had thought to look, had to be his next challenge. He determined he was going to devote the entirety of his 2015/2016 season to the mission. “It captivated me,” he says. “I just thought it was now or never. It’s that feeling that you could be missing out if you don’t get your shit together and do it. If you don’t, you’ll never know.” The results of the season-long quest, in the company of a group of like-minded surfers and filmmakers, are documented in the short film, Beneath the Surface: Chasing a Secret Slab. But, while Cotton and his cohorts experienced tantalising moments where the wave threatened to deliver on the potential glimpsed from afar, in the end, like a creature from myth, it retreated into the foam and mist. It’s why, on the end of the crackly line from Portugal and on the cusp on a new season, Cotton insists he’s ready to drop everything to once again journey to the west of Ireland and into the unknown. “It’s unfinished business,” he says. “It was a particularly bad winter for Ireland; it wasn’t good across the whole Atlantic. Ultimately, it was a huge disappointment, especially because I set my goals and my sights so high, based on what I thought we would get, and what I had in that vision. “But I’m not going to forget about it – it’s on the radar. You build up a profile [of the wave’s behaviour]; you know it’s there. I’m glad I put all that effort and all that time into it because now I know when to go back.” Collaborating with Cotton in building the wave’s profile and trying to predict its next potentially recordbreaking appearance is Ben Freeston of surf forecasting company Magic Seaweed. The former surfer founded the site more than 15 years ago, first as an aid in his

“It’s one of those places that I’d always wanted to go out and investigate” THE RED BULLETIN



own quest to find the best waves, before eventually developing it into the world’s most used wave predictor, a resource accessed by 1.5 million surfers worldwide. Cotton’s reclusive wave off the west of Ireland was a source of instant fascination for the Devon-based analyst. “This wave is unique, and what’s unique about it is its exposure,” he says. “It’s hugely affected by the wind from almost every direction. It’s not amazingly far off the coast but it’s far enough off that there’s no shelter. There’s no cliff giving it a bit of a shelter, no headland.” The coastline nearest to the wave’s location is mountainous, however. “That bit of coast… you can see all of those mountains and they extend out to sea. This one, where ‘Cotty’s’ wave is, just happens to be under the sea, 1.8-3m under the surface. It’s a continuation of that rugged, undulating coastline just out to sea… far out to sea. “A lot of the famous spots in Ireland, Scotland and the UK rely on the waves bending out of the way of the wind. This thing doesn’t. It stands proud in the middle of ocean and when the conditions are right, the swell hits very, very hard, which is why the waves are so big. That’s what we’re so excited about.” While Cotton’s 2016 search for the right conditions wasn’t conducted in a total vacuum – “The first thing we did was go through 35 years of satellite data for winds across the North Atlantic,” says Freeston – the forecaster believes they now have a wealth of data with which to more accurately predict when the right opportunity might present itself. “We’ve learned a lot more about how much wind it can tolerate,” he says. “So we know what the wind window looks like. Finding those windows will never get easier, but we’re in a better position now, so Cotty can say, ‘I’m not gonna go three times in the winter, I’m going to wait for these very specific surf conditions.’” Cotton is convinced the data accumulated across his search this year will eventually bear fruit. “The research was really important. Obviously it would have been great to just turn up and find it firing and we score it straight away. But that’s not reality. You have to put the time in; there’s no way around it. You can’t go to the headland

Ready to go: “I’m not going to forget about the wave,” says Cotton. “It’s on the radar”



and check it, it’s quite a way out. So you have to put the time in and figure it out. It will pay off.” However Freeston admits that being able to forecast the next event is still far from an exact science. “It might not occur in any one of the next three winters, but it will happen,” he says. “However, the challenge remains that if we tell him to go, he will be driving away from great surf in other locations and we can’t guarantee to be totally right. It’s a phenomenal responsibility for us on the data side. These guys might get two or three strikes a winter. Then once every three or four winters, they might score a wave that makes their career. And it’s not 56

a long career, so these projects are nailbiting. We’re rolling the dice, but now we’ve got a better idea how to roll them.” And, according to the Magic Seaweed boss, rolling a double six will occur when a complex set of meteorological variables come together. “We want to see a storm coming out of the Labrador Sea between Greenland and Canada,” he says. “As that storm

“Danger is quite a good thing, because being on the edge is healthy”

comes around at the south of Greenland, there’s a phenomenon there called the ‘tip jet’ [when cyclones meet with the island’s mass on their northward journey across the Atlantic Ocean, causing air flow to be distorted and winds to speed up dramatically]. These tip jets drive huge amounts of energy. It’s almost a spit swell across the Atlantic.” The result is a major storm that sweeps rapidly across the North Atlantic. Seething with power, the first barrier is Ireland’s west coast – and Cotton’s undersea ridge where the surging ocean is lifted into towering, waves. “By the time the swells hit this reef they can be 20 or 30ft, with incredible THE RED BULLETIN


Cotty became a star in 2014 when pictures of him surfing this break in Nazaré were beamed around the world

RIDING THE PRESSURE WAVE “I’m not a panicker, I take things in my stride,” says Andrew Cotton of his ability to deal with pressure, and it’s a gift that science says comes naturally to top athletes It’s an oft-repeated cliché that elite athletes perform better under pressure than regular people but, thanks to a study conducted by University College London and featuring Andrew Cotton, the assertion has now been proved true. ‘Cotty’, along with multiple Isle of Man TT winner John McGuinness, two-time British Touring Car Champion Colin Turkington, British Champion downhill skater Pete Connolly, climber Louis Parkinson and Le Mans racing driver Oliver Webb, recently took part in a series of cognitive tests designed by the university to test their mental strength in stressful situations. When the results were compared with those of nonathletes, it was revealed that the athletes’ memories performed 20 per cent better than average under intense psychological pressure, and that their superior memory skills allowed them to stay in control even during tests which artificially invoked stress and anxiety within the brain. The tests, devised by Professor Vincent Walsh (University College London’s Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience), also showed that athletes’ brains were 10 per cent quicker than non-athletes and actually improved their memory accuracy by 20 per cent more than the non-athletes in a response to challenging and intense emotions. “These elite athletes perform tasks that many of us could never comprehend. but what is fascinating is their mind-set when tackling such challenges,” says Professor Walsh. “When some decisions can be the difference between success and failure, it is perhaps unsurprising that the study showed that athletes were consistently several seconds faster when performing their tasks. A few seconds or a few per cent may not sound much, but this is a long time in sport and is the difference between winning and losing.” The test used to measure the athletes’ performance was the International Affective Picture System (IAPS). The system is a database of pictures ranging from everyday objects and scenes, to extremely rare images, which have THE RED BULLETIN

been proven to have different effects on the brain and can be used to artificially invoke feelings of stress. “The athletes were more accurate overall in their memory tasks following exposure to negative stimuli, whereas the non-athletes were disturbed by the stimuli,” added Walsh. “In some cases, the non-athletes’ performance fell apart in terms of speed of memory when put in difficult and intense situations. Conversely, the athlete’s responses often improved. A lot of this makes sense, in particular in the case of rock climbing or motor racing, where the athletes are conditioned to negate dangerous situations and need to make split-second decisions.” For Cotton the tests were informative, though the surfer insists that for him it is the regularity of his exposure to pressure-cooker moments that gives him an edge. “If I was in the ocean, then I would understand it. I can make instant decisions in the water because it’s my field,” he says. “I’m not a panicker; I take it in my stride. But a lot is down to experience. The more you are in big waves, the more it is just a natural environment, whereas someone who has never seen a 4ft wave would probably panic. I think the more you do something and the more you are in that environment, the more comfortable you become. Maybe that does rub off on some other things in life, such as your decision-making ability. “The test results are interesting,” he concludes. “To be honest, I wouldn’t have thought I would be any quicker than anyone else. In fact, I thought I would be slower!”

Cotton was one of several top athletes who was tested for decision-making speed under pressure

power, and they can double in size on the reef,” says Freeston. “Even though we have no data for a wave this size, we can speculate that a wave twice the size of what we saw in the film is possible [30-40ft]. It’s possible that [with the right conditions] it could be the biggest on the planet.” It’s a daunting prospect, but one Cotton relishes, even though he admits the wave and its unforgiving location have the potential for enormous risk. “That place is eerie, dark and scary but that’s not necessarily a bad thing,” he says. “It’s embedded in us, that response to danger: it’s scary, it’s bad, don’t go near it. But I think sometimes those are good things. Danger is quite a good thing, and it’s good because being on the edge is healthy. “It’s being outside your comfort zone,” he adds. “Some people like being in their comfort zone all the time and others like to push beyond that… these things do make me scared, I do have fear, but there is nothing wrong with that. It’s not necessarily a bad thing.” And he is relishing the chance to once again find himself being hauled by jetski to the edge of the precipice. “I wouldn’t say it’s an adrenalin rush,” he says of the point of no return at the top of a wave. “It really is more like existing completely in the moment. Those things that you get anxious about, the fear of something… when you are there, of course it’s scary, but you have to be in that moment and you’ve got to want it. And when that existence meets with success? “It’s a relief, and a sense that this is what life is about. It feels amazing,” he insists. “You can’t believe what an opportunity you’ve had. You are in the ocean and this is everything you’ve ever wanted out of life, to surf like this and be making a film or a movie. It’s like a dream.” For the moment, the dream of the world’s biggest wave is going to have to wait. This winter Cotton will take part in the WSL Big Wave Tour, and preparation for it has brought him to Portugal. But when the conditions are right he knows the call will come. “It a bit like Avengers Assemble,” he laughs. “If I spoke to any of the guys and said this spot is going to be 40, 50ft or more and perfect, everyone would be ‘right, let’s go’. No one is going to say ‘oh no, I’ve got something else on’. Now that we’ve put the time and effort in, we will do this. If it’s on, it is on. Watch Beneath the Surface at



“AM I A BUDDHIST? NO. I’M A RATIONALIST” DAVID LAMA Setting lofty goals is second nature

to this climber, because he his able to change his plans in crucial moments

the red bulletin: You chose a pursuit in which the slightest mistake could have lethal consequences... david lama: That may well be true, but it doesn’t mean that I make decisions when I’m out on expeditions any differently from how I do in my regular life. It’s a matter of experience and self-evaluation. In your films, you come across as relaxed, cool and 58

composed. It doesn’t matter whether you’re thousands of metres up a rock-face, climbing on an icy ridge in the middle of the night or having to give up on an expedition that’s been years in the making. You always exude a Buddhist calm. What you call Buddhism is in fact rationality. If I had to describe the mindset of successful mountaineers in as few words as possible, I’d say it was rational and objective. That’s the opposite of what you’d expect to hear from a person at the top of their

the remoteness of the route. We’re going again next year. As a mountaineer, you have a reputation to look after. How do you cope with failed expeditions? Obviously you always want to be successful. But regardless of the outcome, any expedition still offers hundreds of experiences you can learn from. For example, in November 2015, I climbed Lunag Ri, which no one had ever climbed before, with the very experienced American climber Conrad Anker. When the weather forecast promised -35˚C for that night, Conrad said, “At least we know it’s going to be cold.” You must think that totally banal, right?

“IT WAS GOING TO BE -35˚C THAT NIGHT. ‘COOL,’ SAID CONRAD, ‘AT LEAST WE KNOW IT’S GOING TO BE COLD’” game. Aren’t successful people often hell-bent on getting their own way? It’s not about trying to pull off something sensational. We wouldn’t climb a rockface where we didn’t have a chance of making it to the summit. We make a rational decision. You know your climbing partner; you study the weather; you calculate the risk of error. And yet still you might not succeed. In the spring, you

In mountaineering, you constantly have to check your perceptions against reality. After all, a plan is only an idea. And an idea is a fleeting thing. There are 41 mountains on the Earth taller than Annapurna III. What is it about that mountain that appeals to you? No one has ever climbed the south-east ridge. First ascents are the core of mountaineering for me. Then it’s the level of difficulty and

Just a little bit! But I learned something from Conrad’s composure. There’s no point in moaning about bad news. Any information is a good thing. In this case, we knew we had to pack an extra gas cartridge. Believe me, on an expedition, these little details can be what ends up making all the difference. Andreas Rottenschlager Find out more about David Lama’s film projects: THE RED BULLETIN



ustrian David Lama was the first to free climb probably the world’s toughest peak – Cerro Torre in Patagonia – and wrote alpine history in the process. What made his ascent so impressive, was that his first attempt at the jagged, 3,128m spire failed. In two new documentaries, Lama can be seen pushing his limits and dealing with disappointment as he attempts to make the first ascent of the south-east face of Annapurna III (7,555m) and the first-ever ascent of Lunag Ri (6,895m) in Nepal. The Red Bulletin spoke to him about staying cool when the pressure is at its highest.

had to turn back on the south-east ridge of Annapurna III in Nepal… The bad weather made success impossible. It’s irrelevant whether you call it failure or not. Making any other decision would have been wrong. All the preparation, which would have taken months, went up in smoke at that moment. You came across as though you didn’t care. Obviously it’s annoying. But making rational decisions also means that you constantly have to change your plans. It’s as simple as that. Most top-level sportspeople would say the opposite: “Be ruthless. Don’t let obstacles get in the way of success.”

David Lama, 26: “It’s irrelevant whether you call it failure or not. It’s all about the quality of the decisions you make”

“EVERYONE CAN BE A HERO” SCOTT NICHOLSON The games expert likes nothing

T Mads Mikkelsen plays Death Star designer Galen Erso in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

“I’M A REALLY MEAN WINNER” MADS MIKKELSEN Whether he’s smashing it on court or designing the Death Star, Hollywood’s great Dane is all about power ball the red bulletin: Do you believe in the Force? mads mikkelsen: There are certain aspects I can identify with, like the idea of trusting yourself or that anything can happen. Can you feel the Force yourself? Of course. Especially when I’m playing ball games. Really? What does it feel like? Like total flow. You forget everything when you run around after a ball. That kind of improvisation – I just love it. And what about winning, is that important to you? Very. I’m a sore loser. But I’m also a really mean winner. What’s the definition of a really mean winner? Someone who brags shamelessly after they’ve won. What’s the greatest victory you’ve ever had? It was a handball goal I scored in my youth. And your worst defeat? I completely wipe those from my memory. Rüdiger Sturm


he red bulletin: In your case, we can honestly say that you’re someone who’s turned his hobby into a career. scott nicholson: Yes, I’ve been a lifelong gamer, be that board games, gamer video games or role-playing games. I’m currently doing research into why it is we enjoy them. And I’m designing new games with my students. What makes games the stuff of science? Games help us explore the world. A talented gamer is able to find their way in real life better, too. A lot of the everyday skills that we all have actually come from playing games. As adults, we often forget the power of play. You’re a professor of game design and development at Wilfrid Laurier University in Brantford, Canada. The motto of your Games Network Lab is, ‘Changing the World through Games’. How can games change the world? I encourage my students to design games that let people find their own meaning in a game. Real gamers will lose interest if it is just about scoring points or nabbing prizes. And if a good game has a connection to the outside world, then it can change that world. Can you give us an example? Foldit is a fantastic example.

It’s a puzzle game about DNA sequencing, where you have to fold proteins creatively. By playing the game you are helping actual researchers solve actual problems. Games can also change the world by helping people train their social and co-operative skills. That is why I find escape room games so extremely interesting. What is it about escape that you find so exciting? Escape games are sociable and all about communication. A small team solves a range of complex riddles and in so doing tries to get out of an enclosed space together. Co-operation is the decisive factor. You either win as a team or you lose as a team. Every well-designed escape room has riddles that you need various skills for: dexterity, quick thinking, leadership qualities. Which means that very different people love to play escape rooms for different reasons. Any player can become the hero of the group at some point or other. What is it usually that makes a game into a good game? Everybody loves hearing stories we can learn something from. And game designers are today’s storytellers. I always say to my students that they have to deploy their power correctly. Don’t just use a generic pasted-on theme. Tell your own story. Clemens Stachel THE RED BULLETIN


better than building escape games, because they make us smarter and more sociable

Scott Nicholson, 54, has a gaming understanding of the world: “We’re today’s storytellers”

Mike Massimino, 54, boldly went where no one had gone before and was the first man to tweet from space


become an astronaut on fulfilling dreams and breaking into the Hubble Telescope to fix it


y his own admission, Mike Massimino wasn’t the smartest kid in the class. Sold on becoming an astronaut after watching Neil Armstrong walk on the moon, he overcame academic failures and poor eyesight to achieve his dream. Over the course of two missions to perform vital repairs on the Hubble Space Telescope, one taking place after the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, he spent over 14 hours walking in space and has played a key role in unlocking the secrets of the universe. the red bulletin: In your book, Spaceman, you describe standing in a hangar amid the wreckage from Columbia. What’s the importance of preparation in avoiding failures? mike massimino: What we learned from Columbia was that we’d focused too much on elements such as launch and space walks as the most dangerous parts of the flight, and we’d begun to view re-entry and landing as fairly benign. You have to be THE RED BULLETIN

vigilant, because you can’t foresee everything that can go wrong. Failures and accidents generally don’t come about because of one thing – more often it’s a collection of little things. Columbia was an avoidable accident. How much of your success has been down to sheer determination? Some setbacks do feel like ‘game over’. In graduate school I failed my qualifying exam and failed badly. But I could take it again, even though it seemed unlikely that I’d pass that second time

great mentors, and teachers who believed in me. We’ve talked about the importance of preparation – but some of that had to go out of the window in your second Hubble mission… You spend a lot of time imagining what can go wrong then finding a workaround for it. That part of the Hubble hadn’t been designed to be re-opened once it was built. We knew it would be like trying to crack a safe while wearing oven gloves. But you can’t think of every possible thing, so we trained as a team to problem-solve – when we ran up against something unexpected, we knew how to work together to get around it.

a couple of lines and it went well, and they asked me back a few more times. I’m probably better known for that than for anything I’ve ever done in space. People think I’m an actor! Was seeing the Earth from space a profoundly life-changing experience? The thought that went through my mind was that this must be what the view from heaven looks like. And then I thought, ‘No, this is what heaven must look like.’ I felt like I was looking down on a paradise, and it’s how I still feel about our planet. We’re very lucky to be here and we should enjoy every second of our lives. Becoming

“BECOMING AN ASTRONAUT IS LIKE WINNING THE LOTTERY. IT’S THIS IMPOSSIBLE THING. BUT EVENTUALLY IT’S GOING TO END” around. Ultimately it was valuable, because if I’d passed first time, I wouldn’t have had to face the challenge of coming back from that failure. It wasn’t easy, but I discovered I had it in me. The lesson from that is that no matter how bleak it seems, there’s always a crack in the door. Also, it’s important to recognise when you need help and to go and get it – and to give other people help when they need it. I was fortunate to have

You appeared on the TV show The Big Bang Theory – what were you expecting to get out of that? The writers wanted to send one of the characters up into space and got in touch with NASA, and our public affairs guy put them in touch with me. I went and sat with them and told a few stories – they’re very funny people – then about six months later I got an email from an executive producer asking if I’d do a cameo. I had

an astronaut is like winning the lottery. It’s this impossible thing. But eventually it’s going to end, and after that it’s important to do something that you really love. For me, the opportunity to share what I’ve learned in the space programme through teaching, and inspiring other people to follow their dreams, has made me tremendously happy. Stuart Codling



VIENNA Words: Andreas Rottenschlager Photography: Lukas Gansterer


THE HOUSE DJ: ANNA ULLRICH The Viennese DJ and photographer plays deep house in clubs across Europe annaullrichofficial

ANNA ULLRICH “ YO U C A N S TAY H E R E A N D PA R T Y TILL 11AM” “If you’re in Vienna for the weekend, here’s your clubbing timetable. If you like commercial house music, start at Volksgarten (next to the Hofburg, the former imperial palace) on Friday. They play house you can dance to and there’s an international crowd. I have lots of friends who go there to meet and hook up with new people. It’s busiest between 2am and 4am. For Saturday night I recommend SASS on Karlsplatz. It’s a club that feels like a sitting room and I regularly play there. The owners like to give young DJs a chance, so it’s the place to go if you want to hear the latest techno and tech house. SASS also plays host to one of the few official after-hours parties in the city. The club shuts at 5am and then reopens at 6am. Then you can party on till 11 in the morning.” 1 2

Karlsplatz 1; Burgring;



IMPERIAL NIGHTLIFE CENTRE Settled in the heart of Europe, Vienna has been the core of the Habsburg Empire, the birthplace of psychoanalysis and the ’80s smash hit Rock Me Amadeus. Global consultant Mercer voted the capital of 1.8 million the world’s most liveable city five times in a row. And that’s not even factoring in the growing number of late-night parties.

6 3

Insomnia Club Ottakringerstraße 50

dasBach Bachgasse 21


Bitzinger Augustinerstraße 1

1 2

Volksgarten Club Burgring


City Facts

Austria’s capital is the second-largest German-speaking city (after Berlin). Fly to Vienna International Airport. Get around by subway (runs 24 hours at the weekend) and tram. Use for navigation.


SASS Club Karlsplatz 1

The Arena Baumgasse 80

T H E R O C K S TA R : WILD EVEL He’s been playing gigs around Vienna for 15 years now. His shows as the frontman of garage-punk band the Trashbones are legendary

WILD EVEL “BE THE FRONTMAN OF A PUNK BAND FOR A NIGHT” “If you want to see good rock ’n’ roll shows, check out the Arena. The former slaughterhouse has been the centre of Vienna’s counterculture since the 1970s and it’s still the go-to address for live music. But my secret tip is dasBach in Ottakring. It’s the perfect location for intimate little gigs. The crowd is so close to the stage that you can smell the singer’s sweat. There’s no barrier to separate the artist from the concertgoer. When I play there with my band, I mingle with the

crowd and drink beer out of my Chelsea boots. You can always tell a place like dasBach is a great live venue based on its rock ’n’ roll paraphernalia; there’s a whole layer of band stickers on the wall. I can’t recommend some of the special features, like punk rock bowling or karaoke, highly enough. A live band will be performing classics by the Ramones or Black Flag and you can just jump on the stage and belt it out with them.” 3 4

Bachgasse 21, Baumgasse 80,

THE PRODUCER: WOLFRAM Austria’s most successful disco export has produced tracks for Moby and performed live with Lady Gaga


WOLFRAM “ E AT K Ä S E K R A I N E R A N D D R I N K C H A M PA G N E ” “All DJs automatically become late-night food experts. And in nighttime Vienna, there’s no avoiding the sausage stands. The way to know you’ve found a good one is the quality of the sides. Are the buns crispy? Is there special mustard? I recommend the Bitzinger stand behind the Opera. It’s one of the few sausage stands 68

with a modern design. They have an amazing selection there. You can order champagne at the Bitzinger stand till 4am and then round off the night with a Carniolan sausage with cheese [Käsekrainer]. Don’t think of the calories and just enjoy it. It’s impossible to eat healthily at a hot-dog stand.” 5

Augustinerstraße 1;

“We know everyone knows Falco. But the unheralded star of Vienna’s music scene is actually Philipp Quehenberger. He’s an all-around musical genius who studied jazz piano and produces unique tracks on the keyboard. ‘Quehe’ creates it all, from noise music to intelligent techno. But he rejects all musicindustry norms. He fiddles around with his songs for years at a time. When he performs live, he likes to wear a tank top. I recommend you look up “Uff Uff” on YouTube for starters. It’s a dark techno tune – the perfect soundtrack for a nighttime walk around Vienna. Just slip on your earbuds and wander up and down the Donaukanal [Danube Canal] with the moon reflected in the water.” THE RED BULLETIN

FREDERIKA FERKOVÁ “DANCE TO TURBO-FOLK” “Ottakringer Straße is the centre of Vienna’s Balkan party scene. A Balkan party is where people from the former Yugoslavia dance to turbo-folk – fast, Slavic music cranked up with electro beats. Oddly, even the Viennese only rarely give Balkan disco a try themselves, which is a shame, because on Fridays and Saturdays things get pretty wild at clubs like Insomnia. An enormous amount

of vodka gets knocked back. The women dance in ultra-short dresses and high heels. Guys usually wear button-downs. My inside tip is to learn just this one thing in Serbian. You can’t go wrong with the question ‘Šta piješ?’ – pronounced shta pee-esh. Translation: “What are you drinking?” 6 Ottakringerstraße 50;

THE MUSIC MAKER: PETER BALON The man who runs the show at Grelle Forelle, Vienna’s leading techno club

THE INSIDER: FREDERIKA F E R K O VÁ Nightlife reporter for Vice. She organises parties, including pyjama raves. hausgemachtinwien/




Big-wave surfer Andrew Cotton on going large – again




40 steps to tackling rally’s toughest event


The Hollywood star on why he’s levelling up for

Assassin’s Creed



JANUARY 2017 £2.50

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Open your mind: go cageless shark-diving


The warm waters of the Caribbean along Mexico’s Riviera Maya teem with amazing wildlife, but between November and March this coastline plays host to its most impressive and potentially deadly guest: the bull shark. Here, there’s a man who wants to take you down to the seabed to face these menacing creatures as they feed, and teach you that they’re not to be feared, but embraced.















Reality bites: bull sharks are not to be feared, it seems

Three more epic dive spots

True colours

The Mexican island of Cozumel sits amid the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, the largest in the Americas. Our tip: take along a flashlight for a kaleidoscopic night-dive.


Playa del Maya, MEXICO Cancún To experience the swimming of the bulls, go to


“Lots of sharks – not bull sharks, but the likes of tiger sharks – are opportunistic. If they see you’re not watching them, they could bite, so always keep them in sight. Look into his eyes and don’t show him you’re scared. If you act like prey, that’s what you are.”

is experience. “When the sharks become nervous, their movements become quicker and they put down their pectoral fins. Someone who sees them every day can tell the difference; a tourist cannot.” As such, anyone going on the excursion requires decent scuba experience. “They don’t need to be super pro-divers, but we don’t babysit. Everyone needs to be able to go down, do a safety stop and come back up by themselves. And they must be able to follow the plan and respect the rules: keep your hand to yourself, because the shark could mistake it and have a bite.” Accidental chomps aside, Loria says the sharks are not to be feared, and the aim of his dives is to teach that lesson. “In the last 30 years, we’ve lost 80 per cent of the world’s shark population. You know why? Because everybody thinks if there are no sharks in the water they’re going to be safer. We need to change people’s minds in order to start protecting them, and the only way we can do this is by getting them to dive with the sharks and learn firsthand what they really are. “When people come here, you can see the nervousness in their faces. In the briefing, they listen very carefully, and they behave underwater. When we finish the dive, we ask them how it made them feel, and the answer most often repeated is that the experience was peaceful.”

Drop in the ocean

Blue Corner in Palau, Micronesia is not for the weak-hearted, with strong currents, a plummeting reef wall and up to 13 species of shark. palaudive

Double down The east side of Tanzania’s Mafia Island offers amazing reef dives into the Indian Ocean. Head to the west and you can snorkel with whale sharks.



“Twenty years ago, Playa del Carmen was a small town with few tourists and [only] four or five dive shops. In the winter, when I used to spear fish, the sharks would come up next to me and try to steal the fish I caught. In those early years, I didn’t notice how much the tourists were amazed by the sharks. It took me time to realise it was a better business than selling ceviche.” And so Jorge Loria brought bull-shark diving to Mexico’s Riviera Maya. Today, Playa del Carmen has more than 60 dive shops, and Loria is the director of Phantom Divers, a tour company that specialises in diving with this species of shark, which, alongside the great white and tiger shark, is considered one of the most dangerous known to man. “We control the dive with food,” explains Loria. “If the sharks start getting aggressive, we seal the bucket so no blood comes out, and then they calm down. If we want more action, we start letting fish out.” For the diver tasked with feeding the sharks, a little more protection is needed. “I have three tooth-marks on my hand,” says Loria. “After that, I said, ‘OK, chain mail is the solution.’” The mesh protects against what he calls a ‘test’ or ‘mistake’ bite – “It’s not the same as an attack bite. When they’re going for a turtle, it has a different force” – but the greatest defence



Rogue One 3D eyewear If you’re going to watch the new Star Wars movie in 3D, do it in style in officially-licensed Stormtrooper or new Death Trooper (shown) glasses. Selected cinemas will be upselling you these with your popcorn.

Darth Vader Melted Helmet From the makers of The Force Awakens’ prop, this detailed replica isn’t cheap and only 500 were made. Kylo Ren clearly got one and the rest are sold out, but with a new film release comes ‘a new hope’ of more to come.


Star Wars merchandise is always tempting. Occasionally, it’s useful too

R2-D2 Moving Refrigerator Forget BB-8, Artoo has always been the coolest droid in the universe. Proving the point is this epic Japanese remote-controlled fridge. It can deliver six-packs of beer and the Death Star plans to the Rebel Alliance.

Millennium Falcon Multitool

Darth Vader Toaster

Walking AT-ACT

Han Solo’s ship is the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy. Probably in no small part due to all the work he’s done on it with this stainless-steel gadget that includes a screwdriver, bottle opener and five box-end wrenches.

Anyone who’s seen Revenge of the Sith knows Anakin Skywalker’s face is pretty toasted beneath that fearsome mask. Recreate his tragic turn to the Dark Side every breakfast time with slices of Star Wars-branded bread.

For Star Wars geeks who are old enough, the original Imperial AT-AT Walker toy was always highly sought after. This enhanced version from the new film can be controlled with your smartphone and fires Nerf bullets.





The human mind behind the computer brain replicating creative genius

Do you consider what Prisma creates to be art?

No, real art depends on your imagination. Prisma uses deep learning, a neural network, to find all the details on your photo – lines, shapes, circles – then it grades them and completely redraws the image from scratch. It allows you to choose a style, though not create your own. However, we plan to solve this challenge and allow people to create their own styles in the future. Then it will be closer to real art.

Are you surprised at the enormous popularity of the app?

It’s crazy. Only games normally have this speed of growth, and we didn’t spend a penny on marketing – it’s almost completely organic. It’s a unique experience watching how Prisma is growing around the world. In summer, we processed around three billion images in four months. Now it’s around 50 million a day. It all depends on the day, of course. On Saturday, we have more; on a Monday, not so much.

How do you make money? There are no ads or in-app purchases…

I’m confident we don’t need direct monetisation, so the app is free. We want to monetise from brands, who can create their own style. We already have some [effects] by Gett, the rival of Uber. It’s not a typical ad, which is created by the brand for you; users create the ad for the brand. There’s no logo, no sign, but it’s an ad. People like ads more, and share them, when they’re native to the interface – Instagram, for example. It’s a very powerful way.

What’s the best application of Prisma you’ve seen?

Some people from Bangladesh have created learning books for children in a school. It’s a very interesting case, helping people to learn in different countries, doing some good for the world. I think that’s the way [forward].

What’s next?

Creating animation in real-time. Prisma video is already happening on the smartphone, and you don’t need the internet to do it. Our idea is to move all the deep-learning power onto the phone itself, not from a server in the cloud where these supercomputers are calculating the stuff. The user experience will be unified for all people around the world. You’ll be wearing the real AI in your pocket. That’s the challenge. It’s going to be very hard work.

The filter selection is always changing. “We want people to explore new styles every day, to keep them interested in creating different images. So we replace some and then see how it goes.”

THE IDEAS MAN Alexey Moiseenkov, 26 Best app of 2016? Sorry, Pokémon Go, that accolade goes to Prisma – the photo-manipulating sensation that seemingly transforms your snaps into images in the style of Picasso, Mondrian or Van Gogh. In truth, it’s the handiwork of this Russian computer graduate or, more accurately, an artificial intelligence he and his team borrowed from someone else – an open-source project named DeepArt. “I thought, ‘How can we connect this idea with people?’ The key was speed.” So Moiseenkov made the rendering process 1,000 times faster and the Instagram generation took notice.

Prisma’s intelligence evolves. “We improve the neural network based on images people are using, but not in real-time. Once a week, maybe. Make a picture in August and one in September will not be the same.”





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Frédérique Constant Horological Smartwatch Notify

The MotionX-365 app on iOS and Android syncs fitness and sleep data from your horological smartwatch

For almost 150 years, the wristwatch had a sacred duty: to tell the time. Then the modern smartwatch arrived, shattering the status quo and reducing timekeeping to a mere feature on a wrist-mounted computer. There were whispers this could mark the end of the analogue timepiece, but the cradle of watchmaking, Switzerland, saw things differently and devised the ‘horological smartwatch’. Physical hands move around the face of the Frédérique Constant Notify, but inside its 42mm stainless-steel case is a smart module that monitors activity and sleep, and syncs with your smartphone. Press the crown and the minute hand winds around to the corresponding symbol – a running man at eight o’clock or a moon at four – while the hour hand tells you what percentage of your daily goal you’ve achieved. Receive a call or message and the watch vibrates as the minute hand moves to the relevant symbols at 10 or two o’clock. Travel to a different country and it automatically sets to the correct time zone. The biggest advantage of an analogue dial, however, is that it doesn’t drain power like an LED screen – the battery lasts four years. Now that’s really smart.


Stay sharp, wherever you are, with these clever clocks


Emporio Armani Connected

Nixon Mission

Michael Kors Access Dylan

Stainless steel and black leather combine to make this watch smart in function and looks. When used with the iOS or Android app, it monitors sleep and steps, sends alerts, and its buttons will control your smartphone music.

The smartest choice for extreme sports. Its polycarbonate and stainless-steel case is waterproof to 10 bars, the bezel acts as a roll cage, and built-in apps include realtime snow-shred alerts and live ocean and mountain condition forecasts.

With its gold-toned, stainless-steel, 46mm case; interchangeable straps in black silicone, leather and metal; and auto dayto-night face swaps, this Android Wear watch is every bit as bling as its celebrated New York designer.


The best mountain shirts in the world. Our clever, enhanced merino regulates temperature naturally. It turns a biting wind into a cooling breeze and a snow storm into a white outer coat. It will keep you more comfortable, in more variable conditions, for longer than anything else on the mountain. All McNair shirts are numbered and signed by the seamstress. Made proper in Yorkshire. w: tw / inst: @mcnairshirts fb: mcnairshirts | Photo by Melody Sky


WHEELS The new Nissan GT-R: the ‘supercar’ that’s mild at heart

MOTOR MERCH Clothing made for the driving seat and beyond

Dressed to win The Ayrton Senna clothing label has teamed up with Classic Team Lotus to deliver a new collection honouring the Brazilian F1 legend’s successes as a driver for the team.


Nissan’s new GT-R can out-drag a Veyron, but is speed alone enough to make a supercar? A few numbers are key when talking about the new Nissan GT-R. Not the HP (562) nor the torque (637Nm), rather the number of video views it’s getting online, beating LaFerraris, Veyrons, every supercar you could name. That’s because of a few more crucial numbers: 0-100kph in 2.6s, almost half a second faster than the McLaren 675LT Spider. I had to experience the slaying power of this supercar killer first-hand. Considering its rep, the GT-R is amazingly pleasant to drive: quiet, comfortable, a refined cruiser. In full auto with standard settings, it’s happy to burble around town.

The experience belies the price tag –  it costs more than the Porsche Cayman GT4, but lacks the instant driver engagement. For that, you have to switch to one of the ‘R’ modes; when the twin turbos spool up, you’re hammered back into the seat like you’re about to fly to a different planet. The GT-R is a rocket, for sure, but it’s not as exciting as some of the cars it can beat on the drag strip. It might outrun the 675LT, but the McLaren gives that supercar experience; this, on the other hand, is an four-door cruiser with a boot. So, it seems that you don’t have to be a monster to take one on.

Tim Burton, aka Shmee150, is one of social media’s mostfollowed supercar connoisseurs. Now he brings that expertise to The Red Bulletin. Watch Shmee’s full video review of this month’s cars at

Wheel deal The collaboration of motorcyclist outfitters Belstaff and historic UK race circuit Goodwood is a match made in petrol-head heaven. Check out the range of motorsportinspired jackets.


Shmee heads to Aston Martin’s HQ to try out the DB11 The range of Aston Martins has grown in recent years, but the image of the marque is still tied to its grand tourers, so the DB11 is a crucial car for the firm. Unsurprisingly, the design is beautiful, but it’s what you can’t see that matters. The new 5.2-litre twinturbo V12 gives 600hp and 700Nm of torque; it hits 100kph in 3.9s, with a top speed of 320kph. There’s little delay in the turbos. It’s


set up to be as close to naturally aspirated as possible. It sounds and feels brilliant. In the cabin, the new teamup with Mercedes is evident. Hyper-critical types could argue it’s behind the cutting edge, but full digital displays and the very usable sat-nav are a big upgrade on the previous generation. Ergonomically, it’s top notch. A wonderful car for touring.

Top flight Whether open-top cruising in winter or pretending you’re a WWII fighter pilot, the authentic Irvin flying jacket, made from tough sheepskin leather, does the job. There’s also a lighter wool-lined option.



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Donnie Darko: “See? I told you not to worry. Not a creepy clown in sight…”

New movie Passengers sat on Hollywood’s annual list of ‘best unmade screenplays’ for years, as did these…

Argo (2012)


Fifteen years on, Donnie Darko remains a cult classic – hypnotically cool and underground. Director Richard Kelly looks back at the mad world he created How hard was it to get the film made? The consensus was that it was impossible to produce. It became a mission to prove the narrative could be realised on screen, and that I could direct it. It was a daunting experience, but I felt I had been given this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Someone had put up $4.5 million to realise this incredibly ambitious story, and everyone soon realised even that wasn’t enough. The timeline leading to the apocalypse in the film – the tangent universe – was 28 days, which was our exact shooting schedule. So we were almost living this apocalyptic narrative while making the film. What convinced you Jake Gyllenhaal was right for the role? I met him in Drew Barrymore’s office on Sunset Boulevard and had an instant gut reaction to his presence. He was at the right point, too – you want actors who feel they need the role as much as it needs them. Great actors like Jake act from a very instinctual level and know when the gravity is centred on a role. Why do you think the film remains so popular? I think on an emotional level it’s the idea of feeling alienation, or not belonging to a level of expectation that society demands. A lot of that is fundamental to being a teenager, coming of age and realising the world is very disappointing. That feeling is much more mainstream than most popular culture presents. How has its enduring appeal inspired you in your career? I feel very honoured that people continue to discuss the film. It makes me want to continue to tell my own original stories and not surrender to the demands of the marketplace; complex stories that challenge audiences and stand the test of time. A 4K restoration of Donnie Darko will be released on Blu-ray this month, accompanied by showings in selected cinemas



Three more movies that beat a shaky start and found a devoted following

Blade Runner (1982) Hard to believe, but Ridley Scott’s sci-fi masterpiece met a muted reception on release, not really being celebrated until 1992 when healthy VHS sales and big TV viewing figures led to a director’s cut. This cemented its legend, inspiring a ‘Final Cut’ and a forthcoming sequel. Brazil (1985) Initially delayed by an editing battle between director and studio, Terry Gilliam’s dystopian fantasy proved too left-field for mainstream audiences. Sci-fi aficionados, however, consider the film a classic. Fight Club (1999) Brad Pitt’s punchy antics were stifled by moral panic in the US, which led to the twist ending being revealed on a talk show, ruining its opening weekend. Nevertheless, the film is now remembered as a counterculture landmark.

The Revenant (2015) If you thought DiCaprio’s character went through a lot in this survival thriller, spare a thought for those who tried to get it made. Adapted from the story by Michael Punke in 2001, the script made the 2007 list, but took eight years to hit the screen. It did end Leo’s long wait for recognition, though: he won the Best Actor Oscar.

Spotlight (2015) The most recent Best Picture winner at the Academy Awards featured on the 2013 Blacklist. The screenplay’s subject matter – journalists expose abuse within the Catholic Church – put some studios in a sweat, but an all-star cast helped make the film a modern classic, earning it 71 awards and almost double that in nominations.




Part of the illustrious 2010 list that included American Hustle and The Hunger Games. Producer George Clooney battled for four years to green-light this hostage drama, and it paid off: he and the film’s director/ star Ben Affleck walked away with the 2012 Oscar for Best Picture.




TREND WATCH For its short doc web series HASHTAG$ 2, Red Bull Music Academy is exploring burgeoning online music subcultures. Here are three you need to know about…

Renaissance man Maynard James Keenan has not only fronted two extremely successful and innovative rock bands – Tool and A Perfect Circle – but also proved himself as an actor, comedian, multimedia artist and even winemaker. Despite his cult following, the 52-year-old has remained an enigmatic figure, but his new biography, A Perfect Union Of Contrary Things, provides a window into his world. Here, Keenan picks five songs that have had an impact on the musician and the vintner. Check out his wine selection at


Dean Martin


Ain’t That A Kick In The Head [from You Can’t Love ’Em All]

More Bounce To The Ounce

“Whenever this classic comes up on my playlist, I drop everything so I can just listen to it. When you look at the early days, and entertainers like Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, they were so multi-talented: they could dance, they could sing, they could play instruments and write. Artists were athletic, and I admire that a lot. Today, people are just handed things for free; it’s a very entitled generation.”

“This song holds a special memory for me. When I was in the military – especially in basic training – pretty much all of my friends were black. Whenever we got the chance to take time off, we would go out and listen to funk tunes on huge boomboxes we’d carry on our shoulders. This song has always been one of my favourites. When it comes on, everyone’s hips immediately start moving.”

Sounds like: Fast techno beats with sickly sweet melodies and high-pitched vocals. Origin: Kawaii hails from Japan (it means ‘cute’) but has gone global; Lady Gaga is among its admirers. Listen to: Death Blossom by ALiCE’S EMOTiON


Fleetwood Mac

Iris DeMent

The Chain [from Rumours]

Let The Mystery [from Infamous Angel]

“A lot of people have tried to cover this song and failed miserably. What they don’t get is that you can’t remove any one element from it and still make the song make sense. There’s some kind of magic in the perfect balance of the vocals and every other element. It inspired me to create Le Cortigiane Oneste, a very unusual yet elegantly balanced blend for which I fermented Barbera and Merlot together.”

“I discovered this one a few years ago. I don’t know much about Iris DeMent’s life and career – she sings a lot of religious tunes – but this is a shining example of good songwriting. It’s mysterious and uplifting; it’s like, ‘Don’t worry about things, don’t judge too much.’ When I listen to this song, I love to pour myself a glass of Chupacabra, which is kind of my mystery blend, a shape-shifter wine from my vineyard.”

Led Zeppelin  Kashmir [from Physical Graffiti]


“There’s a consistency throughout all of Led Zeppelin’s albums, but for me there’s one shining moment in their discography and that is Kashmir. It’s a magical song that couldn’t have happened to just any band – this masterpiece was the result of many years of unconscious preparation. And that fact led me to an important realisation: you shouldn’t wait for a lucky strike; life is all about preparation.”


Sounds like: Dark, hypnotic house with syncopated beats and sliced-up vocals. Origin: Gqom has thrived in Durban townships for the last five years; now, thanks to UK DJs such as Kode9, its minimal sound has fans worldwide. Listen to: Mitsubishi Song by Rudeboyz

THE GADGET The Basslet

Ever fallen in love with a tune in a club, but felt it sounded a bit flat when you listened to it at home? You need this wearable subwoofer. When hooked up to your phone, the smartwatch-sized Basslet transforms low frequencies into vibrations so you can really feel the music.


Sounds like: Harsh industrial sounds and chilly soundscapes. Origin: Born in 2013 as a Facebook group started by pop duo Magic Fades, and now a fashion trend; fans mix Goth style with futuristic sportswear. Listen to: Thorium by MESH Watch all the episodes at redbullmusicacademy. com/hashtags






Gaming gear that’s highly playable and probably collectable

Batman: Arkham VR puts you in the skintight batsuit of Bruce Wayne. We climbed inside the mind of its lead designer to find out what drives him THE GAME I’D TAKE TO A DESERT ISLAND: CIVILIZATION V

Turn-based strategy, 2010, PC, Mac “This is a tough call, but it would probably be Sid Meier’s Civilization V – and hopefully I’ll be saying Civilization VI very soon. I could spend more hours than I have in my life in this series’ game systems. I could mod it to keep myself entertained, too.”


Virtual-reality adventure, 2016, PS4 “We got our PlayStation VR evaluation kit from Sony as we were completing Batman: Arkham Knight last year. It didn’t take long for the team to agree that VR plus Batman: Arkham would be an awesome way to wrap up our time with the Dark Knight. I was asked to head up the design of the new project, which has to be the highlight of my career so far. The chance to tell a new story, with a completely new perspective, in a franchise I’ve grown with was very exciting.”


GREEN’S TOP TIP “Think like Batman. He’s not all fist-fights and leaps off buildings; he’s more intellectual. Every nook in Batman: Arkham VR has been layered with secrets. Scratch the surface and explore it in every direction – you’ll find a depth that’s not immediately apparent.”


Action role-player, 2004, Xbox, PC “I’ve been building content for games since the original Doom. When the developers of Cossacks: European Wars – a real-time strategy game – saw some levels I’d posted on fan sites, they offered me the chance to build an ‘official’ campaign. That helped me land my first full-time design job, on the wonderful Sudeki.”

Pip-Boy Deluxe Designed to be linked to your phone via Bluetooth, this could be the biggest, ugliest smartwatch ever – or a beautiful and collectable replica of Fallout 4’s famous wrist computer.


Adventure puzzler, 2016, PS4, Xbox One, PC, Mac “I’m enjoying this retro indie adventure right now. But, judging by the beta, Battlefield 1 will be keeping me busy this winter. I’m also awaiting my pre-order of Civilization VI, which is set to become my overall favourite.”


First-person shooter, 1999, PC, Mac “As early as the age of six, I loved creating paper designs for 8-bit, side-scrolling platform and puzzle games. Having access to powerful editors for games like Unreal Tournament in my teens set me on the road to making games for a living.”

Gears of War 4 gamepad Hard to believe, but this battleweathered, limitededition controller, with its laser-etched claw marks and weapon-motif D-pad, works with games other than GoW4.

Nintendo Classic Mini Nostalgia is better when it’s improved upon. HDMI lets you play 30 built-in games in high-res, and game saves mean no inputting fiddly codes.



“It’s been incredible, because you can compare yourself to Sébastien Loeb and Jari-Matti Latvala, the two fastest drivers on the planet in rallying” Andreas Mikkelsen, speaking during WRC 2016

Follow the stars of the WRC as they take on some of the toughest conditions in the world



Wherever you like to get your adrenalin rush – on four wheels on two, racing down the steepest pistes or through the best powder – Red Bull TV has it covered…

WRC – LIVE SERIES LIVE JANUARY 22 Follow a fresh season of WRC, as drivers and co-drivers in production-based cars compete in 13 gruelling rallies across four continents. Conditions range from ice-bound tracks in Sweden, rock-strewn mountain passes in Argentina to bumpy asphalt vineyard roads in Germany. First stop: Monte Carlo.





This original short-form series is back, covering Incredible moments in action sports, with each episode hosting a top-five countdown from a specific discipline.


WATCH RED BULL TV ANYWHERE Red Bull TV is a global digital entertainment destination featuring programming that is beyond the ordinary and is available any time, anywhere. Go online at, download the app, or connect via your Smart TV.

To find out more, visit



This stunning essay compares the challenges of big-mountain skiing to those of global climate change. Shot on six continents over two years, it features Sean Petit, Ingrid Backstrom and Mark Abma.


The Hahnenkamm downhill ski race in Kitzbühel, Austria, has seen unforgettable triumphs and heart-rending tragedies. This movie documents what it takes to perform at this legendary annual event.


Why do athletes risk their lives doing what they love to do? Back for a new season, this adventure series follows outstanding athletes as they take on their mind-blowing projects.



EVENTS SAVE THE DATE Winter not wonderful enough? Head to these ski festivals


March Snowboxx For seven nights, the Alpine resort of Avoriaz becomes a playground on the piste. The 5,000-capacity festival is just a part of the party, as lifts and pistes connect 400 square miles of bars and shops over 14 valleys from France to Switzerland.

January 21-22 Adventure Travel Show Olympia, London Once there was a time when the toughest part of an adventure was staying alive. Now, it’s picking the optimum way to maximise your time and money. This exploration expo is your first best stop, with over 100 talks and seminars with seasoned adventurers. Learn everything from travel photography and writing, to fearless filmmaking and planning road trips and safaris.

Jan 19-Feb 26 Magical Lantern Festival

Jan 12 NBA Global Games

Chiswick House, London Giant lanterns are just the start of this Chinese New Year celebration. Food stalls, an ice bar, fun fair and VR games amplify the illuminating experience.

O2 Arena, London

January 25-May 17 Banff Mountain Film Festival

UK and Ireland Every autumn since 1976, this Canadian resort town has played host to a nine-day showcase of epic mountain stories in book, photo and film form. If getting out there proves too sheer a slope to scale, the UK and Ireland leg of the world tour that follows brings the most popular films from the festival to a town near you. Check out the programme at


Catch some real-deal US basketball without having to traipse across the pond. No mere exhibition matches, these are overseas legs of the regular NBA season. Last January saw the Orlando Magic take on the Toronto Raptors; this year it’s the Denver Nuggets shooting hoops against the Indiana Pacers.

Indiana Pacers’ Paul George

26 March Horizon Festival

Set in the town of Arinsal in the Pyrenees mountains, this 1,500km-high ski party offers 63km of slopes, two mountain-top stages, forest raves, a line-up of 120 DJs, a hot-spa cinema and even a dash of paintball.


April Snow bombing The original ski festival, held since 2000 in the Austrian ski resort of Mayrhofen, 2,500m above sea level. From enchanted forests and igloo raves, to tennis clubs turned superclubs, it’s chaos and class all in one.



Action packed: the Adventure Travel Show




Without a parachute... Skydiver Luke Aikins did exactly that. He lived to share this tale “Spread your body out wide to help slow down, aim for a steep hillside, preferably one covered in snow, and say goodbye.” That’s Aikins’ tip on plunging unexpectedly from a plane without a parachute. Not promising coming from the ex-Navy SEAL and Iron Man 3 stuntman who trained Felix Baumgartner for his 2012 plummet from the edge of space. However, jump with the precautions Aikins took in July when he dived 7,620m without a parachute or wingsuit and you can walk away. “The landing didn’t hurt,” he recalls. “My right shoulder looked like a tennis racket had smacked me, but it was gone in the morning.”

it your way 1 Do

“The project crew said, ‘We want somebody to jump without a parachute, no wingsuit, no anything’, with this crazy idea of landing on a giant slide. I didn’t want to do it – I have a wife and son – but I said, ‘OK, but only if I get to control the whole set-up, because I understand the engineering stuff. I’m not a crazy daredevil who doesn’t care if he dies.’ They said yes.”



Don’t be a guinea pig

“I brought the concept of landing in a net held up by cranes, plus air pistons to decelerate impact. I worked with two stunt riggers I knew from Iron Man 3. Their idea was to use a helium bag to lift the net, but we dropped a 99kg dummy from 300m and the impact was hard. Eventually I talked them into trying it without the bag. I went, ‘Wow! Not only will this work, it’ll be a very light impact if done right.’”


frosty 3 Stay

“From 7,620m to the ground there are a lot of wind direction and velocity changes – you’re going to get pushed out of position. Slowly work your way back into alignment. If you watch my jump, you’ll notice that when my team broke off from me, I took off and dove forward pretty hard. That’s because I’d drifted out. Don’t panic, and keep anticipating the wind.”

quick 4 Think

“Once, I was flying a highperformance parachute when a guy in a wingsuit smashed on top of me. We were tangled in my parachute, tumbling. I realised if I released he’d be wrapped up with no tension on the lines to get out and the bigger picture set in: if I leave, he’s gonna die. So I waited half a beat, he got clear, then I opened my reserve.

freak out 5 Don’t

“It’s two minutes falling, so halfway down you start to focus. At 1,500m, I’m all in. All you’re thinking about is flipping to your back. The net bends you on impact – land on your belly and it would be hard on your back and limbs. When things aren’t right, you mustn’t overreact. I wasn’t exactly lined up with the middle of the net, but in that two-second window I had a choice: try to move dead centre and risk sliding, or hit with zero horizontal speed and have a clean rotation. Calm, analytical, split-second decisions.”




COLD COMFORT Here’s something worth celebrating this season! These 20 smart pieces of kit will provide you with even more adventure, fun and action, both on and off the wintry slopes

Clear view ahead

Why should helmets with visors be the preserve of motor-racing drivers? The Uvex hlmt 300 looks good and is nicely functional. It reflects dangerous infrared rays and the allweather shield strengthens contrast if there’s fog, snow or limited visibility.



Tackle ascents in style, warm and dry, and come back the same way Handy Protection

A warm pair of gloves is a winter sports essential, but they’re no good if sweaty palms lead to frozen fingers. Marmot’s Exum Guide gloves are waterproof, but have a lining that wicks away moisture inside.

If the boot fits…

Where does the boot hurt? The 1.6kg Salomon QST PRO 130 with custom fit 3D, Twinframe shell and Surelock walk and stand mode won’t hurt anywhere, even after a full day freeriding or on the slopes.


Spyder men

The Spyder Bernese Down jacket (700 fill power) is good to go on any expedition. The sturdy microfibres, adjustable cuffs and hood mean you stay warm, dry and best of all, you’ll look good for après ski as well.

Fuzzy logic

Less frame and larger lenses means a greater field of vision. You can change the spherical lenses on the Smith Optics I/O in a flash to best suit all visibility conditions.

Pack leader

The Jack Wolfskin Mountaineer 48 Alpine Backpack, weighing in at just 1,920g, has lashing points for skis, snowboard and snowshoes, as well as a special compartment for a snow shovel and avalanche probe.

Artificial microfibres aren’t always the best solution. The McNair Merino Mountain Shirt – handmade in Yorkshire from Merino wool – is water- and windresistant and extremely warm.

Be smart, stay dry

O’Neill 3 Layer Ski Pants are what snowboarding hero Jeremy Jones wears on epic powder runs. The seams are taped and the Hyperdry technology adapts to your body temperature.


Seeing the big picture

Hatchet job

Rock the right après ski look in Bleed Clothing’s Timber Sweater. which comes with a print of loads of axes. Perfect for fans of Scandi timber-chopping self-help book Norwegian Wood.


RIDE OUT The classiest, most innovative and stylish ways to get downhill

Carve your own path

This is no off-the-peg ski. The Atomic Custom Studio allows you to create a completely individual version of eight different types of ski using your own photos, designs or text.

White wonder

Boarding legend Shaun White – a two-time Olympic gold-medal winner – helped design the multifacted Burton TWC Pro Snowboard. It’s both stable on ice and snappy on superpipe or slopestyle courses. burton. com

Laser guided

For those who like their time on the slopes to be high-octane and athletic, the Stöckli Laser GS Ski has total edge grip on the ice and runs smoothly at speed... Time for that black run.

Banana smoothie

Whether it’s for a park session or a powder adventure, the Lib Tech Attack Banana EC2 Snowboard is always the right partner. It’s equally suited to both rookies and professionals.

Lightning seat

Here’s a fun alternative to skiing or snowboarding. Make your way up the mountain on two Snooc Skis, then screw them together, attach the handle and the seat, and whizz back downhill. Combined weight is just 5kg.


Electronic companions for greater action and security

Search optimisation

Avalanche transceivers come with three antennas as standard. But the third on the Arva AXIO folds out, increasing its range and improving the accuracy and speed in locating it.

Group treks

Skiing in a group is more fun. The snoww tracking app means you can compare slope data with friends (kilometres, difference in altitude, top speed) and set each other various challenges.

Drone alone

Here’s the problem… How do you film yourself from above while doing an action sport? Simple: the GoProcompatible Staaker Drone is able to track skiers or snowboarders at up to 80kph.

Affordable action

Can you have a 4K action camera for under £150? Yes you can. And the Olfi camera still offers topclass features such as 4K resolution (24fps), gyro image stabiliser and a waterproof shell.

Head games



GogglePal enables you to add head-up displays to any pair of ski goggles. Once attached to the goggles, the GPS system analyses your skiing style and gives you tips for how to improve.

The action station

The GoPro Hero5 is the ultimate action camera. It’s also practical. With apps such as Quik and Splice, you simply press a couple of buttons and before you know it you have amazing, finished videos. The Capture app lets you preview your recordings, too.


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Web Kurt Vierthaler (Senior Web Editor), SchinSu Bae, Christian Eberle, Vanda Gyuris, Inmaculada Sánchez Trejo, Andrew Swann, Christine Vitel Design Marco Arcangeli, Marion Bernert-Thomann, Martina de Carvalho-Hutter, Kevin Goll, Carita Najewitz Photo Editors Rudi Übelhör (Deputy Photo Director), Marion Batty, Ellen Haas, Eva Kerschbaum, Tahira Mirza Illustrator Dietmar Kainrath Publisher Franz Renkin Advertising Placement Andrea Loprais Creative Solutions Eva Locker (manager), Verena Schörkhuber Country Management and Marketing Stefan Ebner (manager), Magdalena Bonecker, Thomas Dorer, Manuel Otto, Kristina Trefil, Sara Varming

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COASTING THROUGH PEMBROKESHIRE The wacky, water-based adrenalin rush known as coasteering was born in South West Wales. What is it? Simply put, it’s the act of reaching otherwise inaccessible stretches of coastline – steep cliffs, rocky ledges, caves, gullies – by diving, clambering, swimming or floating. Pembrokeshire is famed for its amazing coastal scenery, and no other part of the UK can boast such a diversity of marine landscapes. Many tour companies organise coasteering treks – a great way to see a secret side of the island we live on.


Fr o m r e m o te m o u n t a i n b i ke t ra i ls to s t u n n i n g w i l d s w i m m i n g s p o t s, Wa l e s is a n a m a zi n g a d ve n t u r e p lay g r o u n d

All too often, the words ‘adventure travel’ are only uttered in conjunction with remote corners of the world, accessible only to a hardcore set whose Instagram accounts are awash with mind-bending images of incredible vistas, amazing activities and apparently secret destinations. The truth, though, is markedly different: those singular adventures are achievable right here in the UK – in the glorious, often furious, landscape of Wales. Undoubtedly one of Europe’s finest natural playgrounds, Wales offers a plethora of adventures, from the gentlest ramble in the hills to the most extreme downhill mountain bike ride. It’s the birthplace of coasteering, a thrilling way of exploring some normally inaccessible coastal gems. It’s also a paradise for open-water swimmers – spots off the beaten path include the former gold mine at Rhaeadr Mawddach in Snowdonia, and the coastal splendour of Porth Oer on the Llyˆn Peninsula. And it’s a holy grail for bikers, with great MTB riding at Afan Forest Park, near Port Talbot and Nant yr Arian Forest, close to Aberystwyth. Adventure travel isn’t about photo-stream one-upmanship and impossible tales from impossible places. Epic lives close to home – in wild Wales.

HIT THE TRAILS NANT YR ARIAN FOREST Nant yr Arian Forest offers rugged MTB riding at its best, including mountain climbs, river crossing and technical descents. There are two red-graded trails and a black trail, offering 60km of ground to explore.

WILD WATER LLYN Y FAN FACH This 18m-deep pool high in the Brecon Beacons has its own legend: the Lady of the Lake is said to have appeared from its waters in the 13th century. She chose a good spot: Llyn y Fan Fach was named one of the world’s ‘1,000 Ultimate Sights’ by Lonely Planet.


Usually wakeboarders are pulled over mini ramps by dead straight cable systems. Pro boarders Dominik Gührs, Felix Georgii and Dominik Hernler came up with the idea of creating the world’s first 360-degree wakeboard park. They set up their system in Pula harbour using a crane with a fully swivelling arm as their cable system. The toughest obstacle on the new course is the ‘flying container’ (above). Check out the video:

Wakeboard pro Felix Georgii, 23, was first to test the ‘flying container’ obstacle



“The first time is scary. But after a while you just love it!”



p: Tim Zimmerman


The Red Bulletin January 2017 - UK